Milford and Aodh Ruadh are the form teams as the Michael Murphy Sport and Leisure Intermediate championship race hots up this weekend.
There are four quarter-finals pencilled in for the weekend with two games on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Aodh Ruadh face Naomh Ultan and Milford go head to head with Naomh Brid on Saturday. Naomh Columba face St Naul’s and Burt and Cloughaneely are the Sunday games.
Milford crowned a brilliant league campaign last weekend when they were declared Division Two AllSportStore.com league champions for the first time in the club’s history.
And Aodh Ruadh are riding high at the top of Division Three and have promotion to the AllSportsStore.com Division Two already secured. And with games in hand on second placed Buncrana and third placed Naomh Brid they are also closing in on a Division Three League title.
These two are the form teams and would appear to be the teams to beat in the race for the Cathal McLaughin Cup.
Aodh Ruadh v Naomh Ultan
Tirconaill Park, Saturday, 2.30 pm
Aodh Ruadh and Naomh Ultan get the ball rolling on Saturday. This is their second meeting in the championship in a short space of time. They drew two weeks ago in a final group game. But by that stage Aodh Ruadh, last year’s beaten semi-finalists, had already booked their place in the last eight.
Aodh Ruadh are managed by Peter Gallagher and they have a good mix of youth and experience and will have gained oxygen from their U-21s impressive quarter-final win over Termon last weekend.
Naomh Ultan, last year’s Junior A champions, are having a mixed league campaign and though sitting mid table in Division Three, they are still not clear of the drop zone.
They qualified for the last eight with draws with Aodh Ruadh and Cloughaneely and a win over Naomh Colmcille.
Verdict: Aodh Ruadh.
Milford v Naomh Brid
Convoy, Saturday, 4.30 pm
Milford are on the crest of a wave after winning the Division Two league and three straight wins in the group stages of the championship.
Former Naomh Muire manager Danny O’Donnell, who took over at the start of the year, has enjoyed great success at Moyle View Park. Milford did not get out of the group last year.
Naomh Brid have had an up and down season in the league, winning seven and drawing one of their 15 games played.
And they made it through to the last eight with an away draw against Burt and a home win over a strong Buncrana outfit. They lost by a point away to Naomh Columba.
Milford may be favourites but Naomh Brid have the championship pedigree to push them all the way and especially if Milford haven’t got back down to terra firma following last weekend’s league success.
Naomh Columba v St Naul’s
Dunkineely, Sunday, 1.30 pm
Naomh Columba are another of those teams with championship pedigree.
And in recent years they seem to have reserved their best football for the championship and that would seem to be the case this season also.
They are in the bottom half of the Division Two but got through to the last eight mainly due to a one point win at home to Naomh Brid in the group stages. They suffered a very heavy defeat away to Burt in the last game.
However, they will fancy their chances against a St. Naul’s side that are really out of sorts this year. The sides met in the league in Mountcharles last weekend and the Glen men had a big win.
St. Naul’s made the last eight by virtue of a win in the first game in the group stages against Fanad Gaels and an away draw against Carndonagh. They suffered defeat in their final game at home to Milford.
On the basis of last weekend’s league result which saw Naomh Columba defeat the Mountcharles men by 2-18 to 2-10, it is difficult to see a different result on Sunday in Dunkineely.
Verdict: Naomh Columba
Burt v Cloughaneely
Glenswilly, Sunday, 2.30 pm
Before the start of the championship, Cloughaneely would have been regarded as one of the favourites. But the Falcarragh based side have struggled into the last eight with a final day win over lowly Naomh Colmcille.
They qualified by finishing third in their group behind Aodh Ruadh and Naomh Ultan, losing their opening game to the Ballyshannon side and then drawing in Dunkineely.
Burt topped Group C defeating Naomh Columba and drawing their other two games against Naomh Brid and Buncrana.
They have blown hot and cold this year and on their best form would have a real chance, but Cloughaneely are operating at a division higher and may have too much.